Here We Go: Thank You Seniors!

via blogs.buffalonews.com

If you think the past few weeks of this season have not went too well for UB, imagine how much worse this season would have went if Byron Mulkey had not sat out 2009-2010. Last season's senior night was a goodbye for six Bulls; Rodney Pierce, Max Boudreau, Calvin Betts, John Boyer, Sean Smiley, and Adekambi Laleye. This year it's the Mulkey - Alston show.

Coach Witherspoons decision to hold Mulkey back last season has been talked to death so if you're the one guy following UB Basketball who does not know what happened here is the quick version:

Coach Witherspoon would have returned zero starters this season if Mulkey had played along with his half dozen classmates. So he asked Mulkey to sit, Mulkey was not happy but after getting guidance from family and loved ones he used the year to become a 'student of the game'.

Boy do we need him to be that guy now. Zach Filzen and Javon McCrea have taken turns trying to be the hero. But it seems the Bulls are going to live or die by Byron. He does not need to put up 20 points but he does need some production, enough to spark the Bulls.

With two games left UB is in a tailspin, of sorts. This year is different than last in that of UB's last five losses they were in a position to win at least four of them. That's both very encouraging and soul crushing at the same time. When UB loast last season they tended to lose big, this year its a matter of mising clutch shots at the end of a game (or giving them up).

The last two games are against the only teams in the East that we have yet to beat this season, starting with the RedHawks.

Miami at a glance Value National Conf
Free Throw Pct 74.6 45 1
Efficiency 108.1 58 2
3-pt Field Goals Made 111 91 2
3-pt Field Goal Attempts 300 116 2
True Shooting Pct 56.9 32 2
Points Per Possessions 1.08 55 2
Points Per Game 72.6 71 2
Rebound Pct 53.1 39 2
Defensive Rebounds Per Game 24.6 81 2
Field Goal Pct 45.8 66 3
Effective Field Goal Pct 53.1 34 3
3-pt Field Goal Point Pct 32.8 63 3
Offensive Reb Pct 35 86 3
Offensive Rebounds Per Game 11.1 160 3
Turnovers 210 145 3
3-pt Field Goal Pct 37 79 4
Points 1016 211 4
Turnover Pct 22.3 45 4
Possessions Per 40 minutes 67.1 140 5
Floor Pct 52 135 5

Miami This Season:

Miami, historically a team that leaned on its defense has been borderline explosive this season. They are among top five MAC teams multiple offensive catagoris. Most frighteningly they are about the best free throw shooting team in the conference, not something you want to hear when you send as many to the line as UB does.

They are not nearly as well rounded on defense. The RedHawks are bottom feeders in points per possession, opponents effective Field Goal Percentage, Opponents Three point Percentage, and forced turnovers. They make up for this by owning the defensive boards, third in the conference.

When Last we met:

The last time these two teams played Mitchel Watt tied the game with 53 seconds remaing. But a Nick WinBrush three points and a couple of free throws was enough to put UB down for good.

The game was, in a way, Javon McCrea's MAC comaing out party. After falling way behing early in the game McCrea was sent in off the bench as a spark. Twice during the course of the game the Freshman helped UB get back into the game.

He led the Bulls in Points, Assist, Steals, Blocks, and rebounds, but 26 McCreazy points was not enough to overcome some mediorce free throw shooting, and thats where the Bulls lost the game. UB shot under 70% from the line (12-18) while Miami buried almost 80% of their free throws (18-23).

What would a win mean?

Kent did the Bulls a favor last night by beating up on Bowling Green and Ohio made things really interesting by taking the Zips out behind the woodshed. Unbelievabally UB is not out of the Running for a first round bye. If they manage to tame Charlie Coles they will be one game behind the Akron-Ohio ZibBob's for the final free pass to Cleveland.

There is all kinds ot tie breaking ugliness that I don't care to get into but the final week has Akron Playing conference leader Kent and Ohio taking on Miami  home against an Ohio team thay they needed three overtimes to put down last month. If UB Wins out there is a slight chance that a three way tie for the 4 spot ensues.

With CMU playing the Broncos and UB's out of conference tie breaking advantage over Bowling Green a UB win over Miami almost certainly means a home game.

Keys To The Game

  1. Play Smart: Miami is quite content to beat you at the line, and they have been doing it all season. Take the smart fouls and avoid the unnecessary ones. End up in the couble bonus for any extended period of time and you can kiss this game goodbye.
  2. Get McCrazy: Don't expect McCrea to duplicate his earlier showing against the Hawk but get him in there before the game gets out of hand. The only down side is that Javon has shown a tendency to foul a lot this year which kind goes against key #1
  3. We need January Byron back: Unless Filzen and McCrea both have amazing games the Bulls Need Mulkey to sew the team together.
  4. Do something down low: The secret is out, UB can't score as well against the zone. One of the Bigs is going to have to be a viable threat in the paint to break Miami out of a zone once they go there, and they would be fools not to go there. Maybe give Downing a shot to see what he can do.

 

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